Vocabulary is the best part of learning a new language.
Taking something in your hand and giving it a new word is exciting!
Just like a house, your Spanish vocabulary is organized in different rooms or boxes.
A box for the kitchen (manzana, cuchillo, plato).
Another box for the bathroom (ducha, toalla, maquillaje).
A box for work (computador, papel, tijeras).
So what’s advanced vocabulary? Advanced vocabulary are words that belong in those boxes that are a bit emptier than the others, the ones that need to be filled with more words. Or maybe these words are even better suited for completely empty boxes. These are words you don’t use everyday. That’s why they’re advanced—they’re often very specific, obscure or technical. You have to put forth a bit more effort to learn them.
But it’s worth it!
After learning these guys and adding your own advanced Spanish vocabulary to the list, you’ll grow your vocabulary enormously and expand the scope of your Spanish knowledge. You’ll improve your comprehension and be able to describe things in better detail.
Advanced Spanish Vocabulary to Shoot You Way Beyond the Basics
My vocabulary is already clumped into different boxes. Here are a few that I found myself lacking while packing and unpacking these vocabulary words.
Most of these are words that I don’t use every day. Some are words that I’ve never really used that much for whatever reason. You’ll probably look at some of these words and think, “she didn’t know that?” Well, that’s precisely what’s so fun about vocabulary. Everyone learns different words depending on where, when and why they learned Spanish initially.
These words are here to help you! Take what you don’t know, leave what you do.
Now, I like to think that I know my way around a toolbox, but when my husband told me I had to assemble the cute, new coffee table…well, all of a sudden a drill was a complicated device. I couldn’t even imagine going into a hardware store and navigating all those options in Spanish!
Here are some tools (get it?) that’ll help you next time you want to start a home improvement project.
Bricolaje (Do it yourself, DIY)
Llave inglesa (Wrench)
Papel de lija (Sandpaper)
Ferretería (Hardware Store)
I may not be able to build a table, but at least my husband can send me to the store to get the stuff we’ll need to get the job done!
My daughter and I go to the zoo ever
y now and then. Okay, I’ll be honest—she’s two years old so we go at least three times a week. Our local zoo is beyond tiny, by which I mean there are about 10 exhibits and half of them are birds.
My point is, I have to do something to entertain myself as she runs around. I started looking at the animals differently thinking of how I would describe them.
I knew the words for “pig” and “tiger,” but did I know the words for snout and paw? Now I do!
It’s amazing how many words you can use to describe an animal. Try some out. Go and grab your dog (or a friend’s dog) and try to name everything from their snout to their paws. It’s quite the challenge.
Partes del Cuerpo (Body Parts)
Some of the first things you learn to name in Spanish are the basic body parts: eyes, ears, mouth, nose, etc. But can you really describe all of your body as easily in Spanish as you can in English?
Fosas Nasales (Nostrils)
These are just a few words. Start at your head and work your way down to learn every body part in Spanish. When all else fails, follow the practice of the mime and point.
Al Aire Libre (Outdoors)
I really love spending time outdoors. Camping and boating are a lot of fun—well, anything outside is a lot of fun. But when I go camping I’m usually with my English-speaking family and don’t have to speak Spanish, so I found that this was an area in which my vocabulary was seriously suffering. Let’s look beyond “tree” and “flower” and really dig into some words that’ll help you on your next camp out.
Cantimplora (Water bottle)
Tienda de Campaña (Tent)
Botiquín (First-aid Kit)
Asar (To grill)
Gafas de sol (Sunglasses)
Now you’re all set for fun in the sun! Don’t forget to pack the sunblock and the mosquito repellent.
Oh, the office. There are so many different objects that are in the common office. Surprisingly, you may not have already covered these in your Spanish practice. These little odds and ends just always seem to slip through the cracks. Let’s learn the words for some of these objects.
Tarjeta de negocios (Business card)
Archivador (Filing cabinet)
Estuche (Pencil case)
Bandita Elástica (Rubberband)
Cinta Adhesiva (Tape)
Next time you need a break from answering phones or filing papers, take some time to learn the words of other office supplies.
Gardens are always fun and relaxing. It’s amazing to see something grow from a little seed into an amazingly delicious tomato or watermelon. A little bit of dirt under your fingernails and a little bit of sunshine on your face is good for the soul. Here are some words that’ll help you connect with nature out in the garden.
Tijeras de podar (Clippers)
Pala de punta (Spade)
Regadera (Watering can)
Next time you are at the nursery looking for gardening tools, this list will help you. Something I didn’t include, but that you should check out, are words of plants and flowers. Plus now you have new words to add to your ever expanding Spanish vocabulary!
Otras Palabras (Other Words)
As I was putting together this post, I came across a few other words that don’t really fit well into a single category. Here are a few other words that could be handy to have lying around in your brain. Several of these are verbs, which is nothing but good. Advanced verbs will help you be able to communicate more directly and specifically with others.
De puntillas (On tippy toes)
Sisear (To hiss)
Silbar (To whistle)
Fanfarronear (To brag)
Reojo (Peripheral vision)
Mechón de cabello (Lock of hair)
Otrora (In olden days)
En aras de (For the sake of)
See, isn’t vocabulary so much fun?
Before you know it, all of your existing Spanish boxes will be totally full and spilling over—but never stop looking for new words to learn. There’s always more vocabulary to add to your already expanding Spanish knowledge. Don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed, just take it one word at a time.
Now that you’ve seen the advanced Spanish vocabulary that I’ve found most useful, go out and create your own lists!
Go to a store and walk around. I recommend somewhere huge like Wal-Mart. As you walk up and down the aisles, try to name absolutely everything you see in Spanish. If you don’t know the word, write it down on a pad. When you get home, look it up and write it down next to the English word.
Your vocabulary skills will start to explode!
Bonus: How to Learn More Advanced Spanish Vocab
If you like learning advanced Spanish like the above, then you’ll love FluentU. It’s a perfect resource for Spanish learners of any skill level, as you’ll get closer than ever to authentic Spanish as it’s spoken by native speakers from all over the world. How?
FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into Spanish learning experiences. Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
Pick a region of the Spanish-speaking world, and you can bet we’ve video featuring native speakers from that region. Want to speak like a Spaniard? An Argentinian? An Ecuadorian? We’ve got you covered. Plus, you’ll be able to delve into more specific subject matter that simply isn’t taught elsewhere, like film-making, cuisine, business and cool shortcuts like text message slang.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s Learn Mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the App from iTunes or the Google Play store and bring FluentU’s innovative language-learning experience to your iOS and Android device.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.